Archive of Nicaraguan Writer and Political Figure Gioconda Belli Comes to Texas

Gioconda Belli standing between stone walls with hands pressed outwards against them.

AUSTIN, Texas — The Nettie Lee Benson Latin American Collection at The University of Texas at Austin has acquired the archive of prominent Nicaraguan writer and activist Gioconda Belli. 

The acclaimed author of nine novels, a memoir, two volumes of essays, nine poetry collections and four children’s books, Belli is the recipient of several major literary prizes over her decades-long career, including the prestigious Casa de las Américas Prize for poetry (1978) and the Reina Sofía de Ibero-American Poetry Prize (2023). 

Known for her feminist writing and erotic poetry, Belli has a broad international following, with works translated into at least 20 languages. The English translation of her memoir, “The Country Under My Skin,”was a finalist for a Los Angeles Times book prize. 

She was among the leaders of the Sandinista National Liberation Front, which defeated the regime of Anastasio Somoza Debayle in the Nicaraguan Revolution of 1979, and she worked in support of the Sandinista government until 1993. Amid her increasingly vocal criticism of the Daniel Ortega–Rosario Murillo regime, Belli was forcibly expelled, stripped of her citizenship and declared a traitor to her country in February along with 93 other Nicaraguans. This is her second exile.

In celebration of her archive’s arrival at the Benson Collection, Belli will visit UT in March for a series of events, including a public lecture.

As a longtime admirer of her literary work and her activism, I am honored that Gioconda has entrusted the Benson with her collection,” said Melissa Guy, director of the Benson, who interviewed Belli. “We look forward to engaging students and faculty with the archive, and to welcoming Nicaragua’s greatest living poet to Austin in the near future.”

Read the full interview with Belli here.

For more information: Susanna Sharpe, Communications Coordinator, LLILAS Benson Latin American Studies and Collections

Photo of Gioconda Belli by Daniel Mordzinski.